The Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) has rallied behind calls for President Peter Mutharika to order acting Inspector General of Police Duncan Mwapasa to institute criminal investigations into the rape incidents allegedly committed by police officers deployed at Msundwe, Mpingu and M’bwatalika in Lilongwe.
HRCC chairperson Robert Mkwezalamba comments comes after Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) report established that police officers raped 13 women, defiled one girl and sexually assaulted three under-18 girls during their October 8 2019 operation around the area.
The report says the police officers committed the incidents as the women fled violent scenes.
Mkwezalamba said Police IG should also disclosed names of the errant Cops “for bringing the nation into disrepute.”
He said the acts by Cops is not only heinous but barbaric, cruel and inhuman- especially being perpetrated by the law enforcers.
“These findings therefore, should not only be a concern to the citizens but as a matter of priority to the Head of State and cabinet,” said Mkwezalamba.
MHRC report says there were almost 100 police officers deployed in three teams stationed at M’mbwatalika, Msundwe and Mpingu trading centres along the Lilongwe-Mchinji Road, with others roving in communities where they allegedly tear-gassed people to displace them.
“In the course of their operations of clearing the road, controlling the crowds and making arrests, some police officers ventured into the villages and nearby locations throwing tear gas into houses, beating [people] and breaking into houses.
“As a result, most people, especially men and the youth, fled their village to their gardens, leaving the villages deserted. Some of the women who were left in the villages as others fled or arrived in the village while others fled met police officers who violently beat them, raped and indecently assaulted them,” reads the report.
The officers were led by superintendents Kantchowa, Chisale and Msukwa and Inspector Chipofya (all presented without their first names in the report.)
Malawi Police Service (MPS) said they will study the report and take appropriate action in accordance with recommendations made.
National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera said police has so far recorded statements from the alleged 17 victims and case dockets on the complaints have been opened.
“The service also instituted its own inquiry to find out the circumstances leading to the same allegations. The report will come out soon and the nation will be updated accordingly,” said Kadadzera in the statement.
He also assured the nation that police does not condone any form of human rights violations, in particular sexual violence and pledged that the police would deal with any errant officer.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :